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Examining the complaint process as it relates to licensed MN dentists - II

Last week, we began discussing how all of the hard work and success of those individuals who choose to pursue a career in dentistry can be jeopardized by the filing of a complaint with the Board of Dentistry that calls their fitness to practice into question.

To recap, the Board can pursue a variety of disciplinary measures against licensed dentists that it determines have violated the Minnesota Dental Practice Act after conducting a thorough investigation into written complaints.

Procedure for processing written complaints

The Board has established a specialized procedure for processing the written complaints filed against dentists by everyone from patients to peers. The need for such a highly specialized procedure becomes apparent when you consider that the Board receives anywhere from 200-300 complaints every year.

The procedure begins in earnest when a fully completed complaint registration packet is submitted to the Board offices. At this time, the Complaint Analyst will review the packet, give it a file number and assign it to one of the Board's two Complaint Committees.

Each of these Complaint Committees is comprised of three current Board members, with one team consisting of two licensed dentists and a licensed dental assistant, and the other consisting of two licensed dentists and a licensed dental hygienist.

In addition to the completed complaint registration packet, the Complaint Committee will also consider the written statement and relevant dental records provided by the named dentist in response to a letter of inquiry sent by the Complaint Analyst.

It's important to understand that the law dictates that certain allegations of misconduct made against a licensed dentist must also be investigated by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office.

While a complete listing of these allegations is beyond the scope of a single blog post, they typically relate to allegations of criminal conduct or the inability to practice due to outstanding circumstances (addiction, illness, etc.).

The purpose of looping the AGO into the investigation is not only to uncover any illegal activity, but to ensure that the Complaint Committee has all of the necessary information to make its decision.

As intimidating as all of this can sound, it's important to remember that the filing of a complaint by no means spells the end of your career as a dentist. However, when faced with such a reality, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as it can grant you much-needed peace of mind about your future.  

We'll continue to examine this topic in future posts ...

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